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The 15th Polaris Music Prize Unveils its 2020 Long List

par Patrick Baillargeon

The Polaris Music Prize, which annually honours and rewards albums by Canadian artists, unveiled its Long List of 40 albums on Monday.

A total of 223 records were considered for the 2020 Long List by 201 music journalists, broadcasters, and bloggers from across the country, and the 10-album Short List will be announced live on July 15, on a CBC Music radio special. Eleven members of this expanded jury will then be selected to serve on the Grand Jury. The winning album will be revealed live on CBC’s Gem online viewing service, and on CBCMusic.ca/Polaris, at a special filmed event this fall, rather than at a grand gala as is customary. The Polaris Prize offers $50,000 to the artist(s) who created the Canadian Album of the Year, judged solely on artistic merit, with no consideration of musical genre or commercial popularity. The other nine artists on the 2020 Short List will receive $3,000.

 For this 2020 edition, 12 Quebec artists have been selected. Anachnid, Marie-Pierre Arthur, Backxwash, Chocolat, Louis-Jean Cormier, Corridor, Flore Laurentienne, Jacques Greene, Kaytranada, Men I Trust, Leif Vollebekk, and Zen Bamboo are part of this Long List, which is a good ratio. It remains to be seen if any of the Quebec artists on the list will make it to the end. In the entire history of the Polaris, only one has won the great honour, namely Karkwa in 2010.

Previous winners are Haviah Mighty (2019), Jeremy Dutcher (2018), Lido Pimienta (2017), Kaytranada (2016), Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015), Tanya Tagaq (2014), Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2013), Feist (2012), Arcade Fire (2011), Karkwa (2010), Fucked Up (2009), Caribou (2008), Patrick Watson (2007) and Final Fantasy/Owen Pallett (2006).

Here are the 40 artists selected for the Long List for the Polaris 2020 Music Prize:
Allie X – Cape God
Anachnid – Dreamweaver
Aquakultre – Legacy
Marie-Pierre Arthur – Des feux pour voir
Backxwash – God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It
Badge Époque Ensemble – Badge Époque Ensemble
Begonia – Fear
P’tit Belliveau – Greatest Hits Vol. 1
Caribou – Suddenly
Daniel Caesar – CASE STUDY 01
Chocolat – Jazz engagé
Louis-Jean Cormier – Quand la nuit tombe
Corridor – Junior
dvsn – A Muse In Her Feelings
Jacques Greene – Dawn Chorus
Sarah Harmer – Are You Gone
Ice Cream – FED UP
Junia-T – Studio Monk
Kaytranada – Bubba
Flore Laurentienne – Volume 1
Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight To Eternity?
Men I Trust – Oncle Jazz
Nêhiyawak – nipiy
OBUXUM – Re-Birth
Owen Pallett – Island
Pantayo – Pantayo
Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia
Joel Plaskett – 44
William Prince – Reliever
Riit – ataataga
Andy Shauf – The Neon Skyline
Super Duty Tough Work – Studies in Grey
U.S. Girls – Heavy Light
Leif Vollebekk – New Ways
Wares – Survival
The Weeknd – After Hours
WHOOP-Szo – Warrior Down
Witch Prophet – DNA Activation
Zen Bamboo – GLU

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